Compact Decent finish, Brew pressure gauge Brass handles Large water reservoir Quick startup time Stainless steel boiler Price
Negative Product Points
No pressure relief valve Cheapo plastic drip tray Fragile steam knom Cup warmer useless No pod adapter Steaming accessory (panarello) badly designed
Preface The machine was purchased almost 6 month ago to replace the Nespresso C150 in my office. It was purchased as a package with Solis Maestro (branded here DeLonghi Burr) grinder. Compared to other consumer machines at this price, Junior features almost no visible plastic parts, portafilter made of brass and no-nonsence look.
Espresso Preparation Espresso preparation is as simple as other domestic machines. The switches for power, steam and brew are identical and can be easily mixed. Portafilter baskets hold a too much coffee (single holds 10-11 grams of coffee, double up to 16 grams). Heatup time is 2 minutes, but I usually wait 15 before first shot. There is no pressure relief valve and it is better to wait for pressure to dissipate to avoid portafilter sneezing. There is no problem to produce espresso with a thick layer of crema, capable of holding sugar on top of it for several moments, but it requires some practice. Brewing pressure gauge is certainly helpful here!
One particular point to take care of with this machine is water temperature. Boiler idle periods are too long and water cools to temperatures that are too cold for a good extraction. Forcing boiler heat cycle and then flushing about 1oz certainly helps in getting consistent shot results.
The machine is quite sensitive to the coffee beans used and prefers lighter blends. The espresso sometimes tends to be harsh on a palate and too acid.
Milk Preparation Milk frothing is a little pain, compared both to commercial and high-end consumer machines (Silvia, IMAT Junior). The boiler reaches steam temperatures in one minute, but small boiler size, badly designed frothing device and low steam pressure are real downsides. I prefer to steam milk in another machine (Nemox EPS pod machine) with the same boiler, but good nozzle on the wand instead of frothing device. I have never reached good microfoam with Junior.
Picked up at the distributor after playing with the display unit.